One of the aspects of running a catering business that frustrates us is seeing how customer quotes can be misleading and vague, resulting in people choosing a company expecting to pay a certain amount but then having to fork out a much greater amount because of lots of “extras” that really should have been included in the first place…

We do things differently at Oaktree Occasions and provide comprehensive, thoroughly detailed quotes that we stick to so what a customer sees is what a customer pays (unless, of course, they change their requirements on the way). We provide a bespoke quote, for each and every customer, including a site visit to any new venue, to ensure everything will run smoothly on the day of your event.

If you are in a position where you need outside caterers for a forthcoming event and are currently sourcing quotes from various catering companies, please take note of some of the following points that might result in you paying more than you expect:

Things to consider……

If you are planing a three course meal for 100 people in a marquee, or a barn, there are many things that you will require to be able to cater for this meal, tables and chairs, catering tent or suitable area, a potable water supply and an electricity supply for your caterers equipment.

If you receive a quote that is for a three course meal with wait staff and chefs included and think “WOW that is reasonable and we know the food is good, lets book” The reality of this is you will need all the items we list below…

Cookers, fridges and freezers

To cook a three course meal for 100 people you will require two maybe even three commercial cookers, depending on the menu. These can be hired from event companies and can be expensive especially with VAT and delivery on top of the cost. You may also require a refrigerated unit, a freezer (for ice cream), hot cupboard (for nice hot plates), hot water urns, coffee machines the list goes on and on.

Are they included? Is the specification adequate? You need to know before agreeing the price.

Equipment and tableware

As well as the kitchen equipment you will require tableware, to give you an idea: table linen, glassware, crockery, cutlery, bread baskets, butter dishes, vegetable dishes, salt and pepper cruets, coffee pots, milk jugs, wine glasses, water glasses, water jugs, again to name a few.

Have all of these been included in the quotation you have been given?


If wait staff are included, when will they arrive? Will they set the tables, is there plenty of time for them to set the tables? Will they clear and wash all the plates afterwards? Is there enough staff to wait all the tables? Are the wait staff able to serve reception drinks and pour champagne?

What expectations and level of service do you expect from the staff, do you have faith and trust in your Maitre d’ to oversee, and look after every aspect of your day?

There are a lot of variables when it comes to outside catering and different venues. We pride ourselves on producing detailed quotes with all the equipment that you will need included within the quote so there will be no hidden costs due after the event. By having us supply all the equipment, will give you peace of mind and a lower hire figure. And by producing detailed quotes you can see exactly what you are paying for and, for example, if you decide to not serve canapes we will remove this straight off so the final price is transparent.

If you are not working with us please be vigilant and make sure you clarify with your supplier exactly what is and what is not included to avoid nasty shocks when you least need them.